Posts Tagged ‘post-punk’

Red Monkey (Reissue)

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

How We Learned to Live Like A Bomb LP
Our Voltage, 2014

Scan through the reviews section of any recent issue of MRR and you’re likely to see gallons of ink touting a substantial percentage of vinyl being pressed of 10+ year-old punk. Many of these reissues pimp bands that continue to sell to an established fanbase, while others give light to some bands unknown and underrated during their day. This reissue from the German label Our Voltage is a record you’ll want to take note of as it gathers some of the most essential tracks from one of the late ’90s most underrated bands. If you haven’t familiarized yourself with Red Monkey yet, check out this previous post about their first 7″, then find yourself a copy of this vital collection before it disappears as quickly as the original pressings of these killer slabs of angular post-punk. 18 remastered tracks (16 on red vinyl, plus an additional 2 with album download) collecting all their 7″ releases and compilation tracks, plus a 20-page zine style booklet featuring anecdotes and art from the band members make this an essential release for those new to the razor-sharp sounds of Red Monkey as well as longtime fans.

Listen to the first track “Trespass” on Soundcloud


Get How We Learned to Live Like A Bomb from Our Voltage

Red Monkey

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Do What You Feel (Feel What You Do) 7″
Slampt, 1997

Back in 1997 there weren’t a ton of groups doing angular, Gang of Four-style postpunk, so you gotta give Red Monkey credit for not only being ahead of the curve, but for doing it really really well. Along with their classic releases on NJ’s Troubleman label, this debut 7″ EP on their Slampt label has remained one of the better examples of tightly-wound, tension-filled punk with a sharp political edge. With male/female vocals sparing back and forth ala The Ex and a stripped down, herky-jerk rhythm section, songs like “Not Only” and “18+” absolutely grab you by the throat and demand your attention. Ain’t that what punk’s all about?


Red Monkey – “18+”
Red Monkey – “Not Only”


Red Monkey on iTunes


Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Hollywood Blood Capsules CD
Choke, 1995

Two bands in the mid-90s were often described as “The Jesus Lizard with female vocals” and strangely enough:

  1. Both had the word “jack” in their moniker
  2. Both came from college towns
  3. Both featured female vocalists with the last name of a U.S. President.

Despite these intriguing similarities, neither really got the attention they deserved outside of their respective hometowns. Considering the novelty and force of each band, it’s puzzling to imagine a time where the output of these groups could be so utterly overlooked and unnoticed. Read more about Athens’ Jack O Nuts here. Like Jack O Nuts,  Ann Arbor’s Jaks employed snaky, propulsive bass and tensely clashing minor key guitar shards — but to a slightly more gnarled degree. And while Jack O Nuts’ Laura Carter had the David Yow-ish howl of a crazy person, the Jaks’ Katrina Ford (who would later go on to Love Life and Celebration) forces the sketchy thrill of a carnival sideshow through a blown-out transistor mic, half rambling, part singing and part screaming. It’s a rambunctiously noisy and fun album with a slight gothic tint. You can find it and their earlier singles collected on the Here Lies the Body of Jaks collection released on Three One G.


Jaks – “Dumb Waiter”
Jaks – “Spider”


Jaks on MySpace
Buy Jaks “Here Lies the Body of Jaks” discography CD at Three One G


Saturday, August 27th, 2011

(Germo) Phobic LP
Headhunter Records, 1997

Friends and family rarely understand what drives a person to spend countless hours sifting through cubic acres of vinyl in dingy record stores, cataloging and obsessing over music that most people find more worthless than the series of descending pricetags stuck on its jackets. And we’re not talking about collecting. That people can sorta understand. There’s a point to finding something rare and worth a lot of money. For me, however, it’s been hard to explain the thrill of finding something I wasn’t really even looking for, something I stumble across randomly that totally hits the spot — something makes all the searching worthwhile. Whether it’s rare and valuable or worth next to nothing, I could care less. As long as I continue to find music that kicks ass buried in those dingy record stores, you’ll find me happily flipping through the stacks in search of my next fix. This somewhat hard-to-find sophomore album from Tanner is a perfect example. Their debut LP Ill-Gotten Gains found a coveted place in my collection alongside other San Diego greats like Hot Snakes and The Night Marchers (both featuring Tanner’s Gar Wood) and I’ve picked up some of their singles when I’ve come across them. I didn’t even know they had another album, so when I came across this I knew it’d be worth checking out. I was right. This one picks up where their debut left off with tight, punchy riffs solidly played over earnest vocals and hooky songwriting, maybe even better than they did on their first LP. It’s a smoker that will keep me searchin’ for the next batch of quality tuneage.


Tanner – “AKA Meltdown”
Tanner – “Booty”
Tanner – “2 Parts Gas”


Official Tanner site

Candy Machine

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

A Modest Proposal CD
Atlantic Records, 1994

During Candy Machine’s 7-year lifespan, the easily overlooked Baltimore quartet managed to put out a few singles and three albums of quality tension rock while never connecting to a substantial fanbase or getting out of the cutout bin ghetto. It’s a shame too, because this album in particular showcases their peculiar version of rigid, art-damaged postpunk that was unlike the multitude of bands plodding similar territory at the time. Sandwiched between Candy Machine’s debut on Skene! Records and their final album split released on ultimate indie labels DeSoto and Dischord Records, A Modest Proposal was released by a major label and promptly neglected. With a deadpan vocals, severe angular guitar, and bouncing bass lines pulling everything together with a precision-steady beat Candy Machine’s big label flop is a relatively unheard treasure.


Candy Machine – A Modest Proposal (59.9mb Zip file)

Jay Reatard

Sunday, February 14th, 2010


It’s been a month since the Memphis garage maestro died and I’m still recalling all the raging records he left behind. I remember the first time I heard The Reatards, blown away by the intensity and freshness he brought to the safe, conventional confines of the garage punk scene. Jay really took it to the next level and influenced a whole generation of in-the-red ragers as a mere teenager. He continued to evolve and was never afraid to push into new territory, as demonstrated with the darkwave synthpunk of the Lost Sounds, or the jerky, angular postpunk of Nervous Patterns and Angry Angles. Even his last solo release, Watch Me Fail, the most polished and commercial album of his career, his masterful combination of KBD-style primitive punk and classic pop tweaked convention enough to make his music his own distinct beast. It’s ridiculous how many quality releases the guy had under his belt. It may have seemed like overkill at the time, but ya gotta be thankful for the massive back catalog he left behind without even reaching 30. Here are a few of my favorites…


The Reatards – “Blew My Mind”
The Reatards – “Sick When I See”
The Reatards – “Teenage Hate”

Final Solutions – “Eye Don’t Like You”

Nervous Patterns – “Beautiful Brutal”

Angry Angles – “Apparent-Transparent”

Lost Sounds – “Dark Shadows”
Lost Sounds – “You Don’t Know Remote Control”
Lost Sounds – “Black Flowers”

Murder Inc.

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Murder Inc. LP
Invisible, 1992

Whenever the need to hear Killing Joke‘s first four albums strikes — and it strikes me often — I find myself digging up this self-titled 1992 album by Murder Inc. to extend the jams. It delivers heaps of the swirling, beat-heavy apocalyptic vibe that Killing Joke made famous. Murder Inc. is able to do this since it’s pretty much Killing Joke with a different singer, Chris Connolly, a ’90s industrial darling who put out a number of solo records and appeared on a shit-ton of records for bands like Pigface, Revolting Cocks, Ministry and others. While not as essential as the early KJ discs, it is interesting to hear the core KJ sound augmented with cool, slightly less melodramatic vocals. In fact, despite what some say, this record is probably more melodic than the majority of of Killing Joke’s output, adding a musicality to the vocals which were typically shouted, oppressive anthems. Compare “Mania” and “Gambit” to the more KJ-sounding track “Red Black” and you’ll see what I mean. You can find CD versions of this fine record (if you can stand the goofy cover art) fairly easily, since it was re-issued on the Futurist label in 1993 with a different track order and an additional song.


Murder Inc. – “Last of the Urgents
Murder Inc. – “Red Black”
Murder Inc. – “Mania”
Murder Inc. – “Gambit

Phleg Camp

Friday, August 14th, 2009

Bully My Pushy double 7″
Allied Records, 1991

Twilight Pink / Hog Bottom 7″
Allied Records, 1992

Spent some time in Toronto recently, and that got me thinking about this classic, often overlooked T-dot postpunk group. Inspired by the dubby, danceable punk of the late ’80s DC scene, Phleg Camp’s early releases felt like a gruff version of Soulside — a sort of mutated funk rife with impassioned vocals and guitar supported by a bouncy rhythm section. Their first release and the Bully My Pushy double 7″ really highlighted this sound, but by their first and final album, Ya’red Fair Scratch on the Cargo label in 1993, their tone became much less dancey and more in line with the angular, tension-filled of the day, like The Jesus Lizard, Circus Lupus, and Jack O Nuts. It’s a fantastic album, so be sure to give it a spin HERE. The Twilight Pink 7″ is interesting as it has a transitional sound, as the guitar sound became more textural and the basslines more serpetine, but not quite to the degree of the downbeat Ya’red Fair Scratch. Check it out. And as an extra bonus, I’ve also got a rare track from a 7″ flexi compilation a buddy of mine put out.


Phleg Camp – “Bully My Pushy” double 7″ (21.3 MB zip)

Phleg Camp – “Twilight Pink”
Phleg Camp – “Hog Bottom”

Phleg Camp – “On The Map”
from the It’s All About… 4 Bands I Like compilation flexi 7″, Familyman Records, 1992


Phleg Camp’s Ya’red Fair Scratch on the Rocket Science blog
Phleg Camp on YouTube

Year Future

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

Year Future 12″ EP
Gold Standard Laboratories, 2003

The sadly defunct GSL label had an amazing streak in the early 2000s, cranking out landmark releases with a diverse roster of the era’s best bands including The Locust, Mars Volta, !!!, Chromatics, GoGoGo Airheart, I Am Spoonbender, Sunshine, The Vanishing, and many more — many of which will likely be featured here sometime in future. The GSL aesthetic was ever-shifting and adventurous, from lush prog rock to icy neo-goth to hip-hip and weirdo noise, all somehow capturing the anarchic spirit of punk before punk became a commodified cultural trinket to be consumed at your local Hot Topic. Label head Sonny Kay’s good taste always warranted consideration, so after a string of notable bands featuring him as a member, like Angel Hair and my faves, The VSS (who’s essential Nervous Circuits album recently got a deluxe re-issue treatment on the Hydra Head label), I was primed to hear his latest band, Year Future. Their debut is probably the best representation of the band’s potential, along with their Hidden Hand 7″ released about a year later. And as much as I love these two releases, their debut album, First World Fever was a tedious mess I can barely listen to, a huge disappointment full of clumsy lyrics mixed front and center, dully spouted for 40-some minutes in Sonny’s whiny monotone shout. His “singing” style can be grating on the earlier releases as well, but there they were at least buried in the mix and work as an oppressive force without drowning out the band’s interesting and dense swirl of echoey guitar and synth. At their best, Year Future connected the dots between proto post-punk groups like Warsaw-era Joy Division, Public Image Limited, The Birthday Party, and Killing Joke, to the jaded Gravity Records-era post-hardcore bands like The VSS, Clikitat Ikatowi, Antioch Arrow, and Heroin. Check out some of Year Future’s finest recorded moments from a pair of tracks from their 4-song debut EP below…


Year Future – “All Of Your Eggs”
Year Future – “Some Bodies”


Year Future bio on GSL
Buy Year Future releases

Eric the Red

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

Life After Tuesday / My Hero Halo 7″
Caulfield/The Secret Sonata, 1998

As part of the groundswell that developed into the postpunk revival at the turn of the century, this 3-piece from Lincoln, Nebraska offered one of the best Wire/Gang of Four/Feelies-inspired singles you’ll ever hear. With minimal, sophisticated songwriting that was lost with the latter, more popular postpunk revival bands who peaked in the early 2000s, Eric the Red’s sole release features subtly shifting layers of tense, pulsating guitar and nervy vocals that echo of the earnest voice of Dave Callahan from Moonshake. The band merged key players from two veteran Nebraskan bands, including Rich Higgins of Sideshow, who released a number of bouncing post-hardcore records and toured during the early ’90s, as well as Shane Aspegren of Lullaby for the Working Class, who were a younger alt-country pop band that made a name for themselves through releases on Bar/None Records and numerous treks across the U.S. The mixing of an experienced punk with younger, musically-inclined upstarts resulted in this gem, which blows away a number, if not most, of the overly-hyped postpunk bands that followed a few years later.


Eric The Red – “Life After Tuesday”
Eric The Red – “My Hero Halo